Teduray woman wins award for peace-building in Maguindanao

Philippine Daily Inquirer –

13 September 2015

SOUTH UPI, Maguindanao—A Teduray woman was recently named the lone
Filipino winner of this year’s N-Peace Awards for her passionate work as
an advocate of peace and nonviolent action.

Jo Genna Martin Jover of Maguindanao province was being credited for
organizing members of her tribe to continue working for justice “amid
such injustices as intrusion into their traditional lands.” She has also
been working hard to bring about change in “lumad” and Moro communities
in Maguindanao by adopting strategies of nonviolence and peace-building.

N-Peace is the Bangkok-based multicountry network of peace advocates
initiated by the UN Development Programme, which seeks to advance women,
peace and security issues in Asia.

Jover, known as Jude among the Teduray, hails from Barangay Timanan in
South Upi town.

Recounting her story as member of the Kutawato Council for Justice and
Peace, N-Peace’s “Untold Stories: Women Transforming their Communities,”
said Jover’s work in her community includes raising awareness of the
rights of indigenous peoples and Moro women.

She has led consultations with various women and also organized training
to ensure their meaningful participation in governance as well as in
peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction.

The training, N-Peace said, provides women with skills such as conflict
resolution, mediation and early warning and early response tactics.

At one time, she tried to enter politics because of her desire to bring
about change. But she failed.

Jover facilitates listening sessions with grassroots Moro communities
affected by the decades-long conflict with the government. She is also a
member of the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission.

She said despite the intense stories of violence and oppression she
hears from some communities, she remained unyielding to calls from
groups to take a hard line within the peace process.

She said she was confident and resolute that peace was achievable and
that justice for indigenous peoples could be attained through dialogue
and other peace-building methods.

“It is an opportunity to let the world know that ordinary women can
contribute to peace-building,” she said after winning the award.

Fr. Dennis Gui, OMI, parish priest of Timanan, South Upi, said Jover
brought honor to South Upi.

“Our Parish is one with her in peace-building and in promoting the
rights of the indigenous peoples,” Gui said.

On Oct. 4, the local community Timanan will offer a thanksgiving Mass in
honor of Jover.

The other N-Peace winners include Hassina Neekzad of Afghanistan, who
was dubbed the passionate teacher of peace;, Jull Takaliuang of
Indonesia, justice-seeker for the most marginalized members of society;
Ja Nan Lahtaw of Myanmar, peace activist; Sharmila Thapa of Nepal, who
works to bring dignity to Nepal’s single mothers; and Rubina Feroze
Bhatti of Pakistan, who has been very courageous in defending the rights
of Pakistan’s women and minorities. Edwin Fernandez, Inquirer Mindanao